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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Alfred Beer * 1896

Isestraße 80 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

1941 Lodz
ermordet am 1.4.1942

further stumbling stones in Isestraße 80:
James Lewie, James Wiener, Clara Wiener

Alfred Beer, born on 24 Jan. 1896, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, died on 1 Feb. 1942

Isestraße 80

Alfred Beer was born in Hamburg. His parents were Moritz Beer and his wife Bianca, née Simon. His father, a merchant, dealt in household goods and run a shop at Schaarsteinweg 19. The family lived in Große Michaelisstrasse 9.

Since 1920 Alfred Beer was registered in the files of the Hamburg Jewish Community with first his parents’ address, Grindelhof 7e. By 1937 he had moved five times. He was listed as a travelling salesman with very little income. We don’t know what his trade was.

He stayed single, a sister and cousins were his family in Hamburg.

During the series of arrests after the Pogrom Night he was taken to the concentration camp Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel from November 11 to 12 ,1938. A later detention in Sachsenhausen concentration camp that was supposed in the Bundesarchiv Memorial Book did not take place.

We only know little about him, except for the last two- and- a- half years of his life. His friend Werner Satz had emigrated to the USA in December 1938. The collection of letters that his mother, Selma Satz, wrote her son is kept, and Alfred Beer is frequently mentioned.

Alfred Beer stayed in close contact with his friend’s family, who lived at Isestraße 69. "He almost seems to me like a relative", Selma Satz wrote. The collection contains two letters by Alfred Beer, and Selma Satz reports in detail about his fate. She often mentions Alfred’s loneliness and that he needed a lot of support to deal with the challenges of daily life.
Alfred Beer’s sister and his cousins helped finding accommodation. At Selma Satz’s he sometimes could eat to a fill, but for little money he also went to public (Jewish) kitchens.

Alfred Beer’s dream was to be able to follow his friend to the USA. But, first, obviously his aim was England like it had been in 1937. In his tax file for the Jewish Community in that year "England” was mentioned as a reason for his withdrawal. The entry was crossed out, but re entered in April 1939. On April 3, 1939 he wrote to Werner Satz: ”Everyone is leaving and I will probably die a wretched death here. I heard just recently from the Committee in London that I have to provide a second guarantor and I don’t know where to turn to because my cousin doesn’t want to take the guarantee alone. What’s more, the Committee is demanding an affidavit which T.P can give to me only in May at the earliest. Now I just have to wait a bit longer … nevertheless. Today my acquaintant Marc [Seitz] is going to New York. Heymann also left a while ago…”. Like so many in those days Alfred Beer suffered from the back and forth between hope of emigration, disappointment and despair when a paper or money was missing.

On October 28, 1939, he wrote to Werner Satz, this time full of hope for emigration to the USA: "Last week I received a letter from the Amer. Consulate that it was my turn to wait and that I should send out my papers..." In the meantime he had received a second letter of guarantee from a cousin in New York probably through Werner's mediation. But now he found out that even the two declarations were not sufficient to guarantee his livelihood in the USA. He waited in vain for a third. He also did not have the money for the passage. Nevertheless, he and Selma Satz together obtained the necessary medical certificates, criminal records and passport photos in February 1940.

The concern about coping with daily life continued, as did the search for work. In the summer of 1939 he found work in Hamburg Stadtpark, but had to give that up after a short time because the physical exertion was too hard. He moved several more times. Either his sister, who had no work herself paid his rent or he stayed at one of his cousins’.

Early in 1941 he found a job which was paid enough to live modestly on his own, Selma Satz mentioned. (In the file of Deportations from Hamburg "Erdarbeiter” (digger) is entered as a profession). In May 1941 he found a room in Isestraße 80, his last address in Hamburg, where his Stolperstein was placed.

His efforts to emigrate had taken him nowhere. But he still hoped to get the third affidavit and meet his friend again. On October 19, 1941 Selma Satz wrote to her son:” Of all your acquaintances none is anywhere here, just Bear [!], who lives five minutes away from us … has kept his old sense of humour and loves to remember the car rides back with you, how long ago is that already, dear Werner.”

Six days later, on October 25, 1941, Alfred Beer was deported to Lodz Ghetto. There he "lived” at Aleksanderhof 37, an address that pretended normal accommodation, but the small quarters had to be shared with many people. The bitter cold of the last winter, heavy work and famine would have probably deprived him of his last strength. Whether he had gotten work and with that he would have a little better allotment than the non working ghetto dwellers, is not known, just as little as we know the exact cause of his death.

He died on April 1, 1942, six weeks before in May many of the Jews from Hamburg were transported from Lodz Ghetto to Chelmno extermination camp (Kulmhof) to be killed by gas.

Translator: Christa Fladhammer

Stand: April 2020
© Christa Fladhammer

Quellen: 1;5; StaH, Geburtsanzeige Alfred Beer; ITS/Archiv/ZNK;; Die Chronik des Gettos Lodz/Litzmannstadt, (Hrsg.) Sascha Feuchert, Göttingen 2007; div. Hamburger Adressbücher; Briefe der Selma Satz an Ihren Sohn Werner 1938 bis 1941, Privatbesitz; Hamburger Deportationsliste v. 25.10.1941:; Ghetto Lodz: Bewohnerliste Alekshandhof 37, Ghetto Lodz: alphabetische Liste der Bewohner des Ghettos Lodz.
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